Sixteen days doesn’t seem that long in the grand scheme of things. Really, when you get down to it, sixteen days isn’t that long. In the late summer of 2000, sixteen days seemed like an eternity. That is the length of time I spent on hospital bedrest before giving birth to Ryley.
I am not the type of person who knew how to relax very well. Life was full-speed ahead in my type-A world. There was always SOMETHING to be done – some place to be, some friends to call, some cleaning to do, and so on. I was not good at taking time for me. I was not good at shutting down. I did take care of myself while I was pregnant, don’t get me wrong, but I was always in “go” mode. On a hot summer evening in early September, that all changed. I was 23 1/2 weeks pregnant, and I started bleeding….a lot. That day, I had my first ambulance ride as I was transferred to a hospital who MIGHT be able to “handle” a 23+ weeker. I got to know the joy of bedpans, constant fetal monitoring, and the wonderful magnesium sulfate. And thus began a new journey in my life.
I did spend the next 16 days chained to that hospital bed. After five days, I was allowed bathroom and then shower privileges. I never came off the magnesium. For those of you who have been on it, you know what that does to your brain and your body. I spent 16 days watching tv. I couldn’t read, could hardly carry on a conversation. I still thank goodness nearly every day that the Olympics in Australia were on at that time otherwise I don’t know what I would have done. Matt, Anne, Katie and Al were my best friends in the morning, Oprah and Rosie covered the afternoon. Five days after I was admitted, my doctor told me I wasn’t going home. Home was too far away from the hospital, in case anything should happen. I was going to be there until 32 weeks, or until I delivered, whichever came first.
I had good days and bad days. Michael did everything he could to make my hospital room more like home…I had my own fan, my beloved body pillow, my stuffed frog a friend had given me for the baby, a radio to listen to my favorite baseball team make a run at the playoffs, and pictures of my family were taped to the walls. My young nieces and nephews colored pictures for me to hang up too. I so would have loved to have had a computer there with me, but I didn’t. The phone was my connection to the outside world. I think I probably made my nurses crazy because I would keep them in my room talking to me as long as I could. I was BORED out of my mind. But I had no choice.
After 16 days, I got an infection. Ryley was safer in the NICU than in my body at that point. I had naively thought and planned on being in that hospital bed until 32 weeks. I felt like a failure for only getting to 26 weeks. As awful as bedrest was, alone in a hospital room, I would have gladly given up six or even more weeks of my life to give Ryley a better start. When I got pregnant with Grace, I knew bedrest might be in my future. Thankfully, it wasn’t and Grace was full-term without any medical interference. But I would have done it if I had to.
Bedrest is not fun. But we do what we have to in order to try and give our precious little ones a better start at life.
Join us for our bedrest chat tomorrow at 3pm EST. Whether you’ve done it, are enduring it right now, or it might be in your future, there will be something for you!